Wednesday, March 14, 2018

#ThankfulThursday: Southern California Students Give Over $400 in Spare Change to CCA

By Bethany Spellman, Teacher at Highland Academy in Southern California 

Part of a successful education involves teaching students to look beyond themselves and to use their knowledge and abilities to help those around them. Each month, our school emphasizes a specific character trait that we want our students to live out.  Our character trait for December was Giving. When we found out that one of our students, Jordan Watkins, was trying to raise money to help an organization that has helped his family and so many families who have been affected by facial differences, we knew this would be an awesome opportunity to demonstrate giving in a real way.  

When we announced that our giving project was to raise money to help Jordan and the CCA, the enthusiasm and response from the students was overwhelming.  Every day for two weeks, students brought in change.  At the end, they had raised over $400.  

We are so proud of our students for the invaluable life lessons they learn each time they help others.  We are also so privileged and thankful to help the Watkins and the CCA.  Thank you for giving so much of yourselves to affect change, impact growth, and provide hope to so many children and their families.

Help CCA get "Wonder" into more schools, help kids like Jordan and his teacher Ms. Spellman teach lessons that last a lifetime. Click here to donate today!

Harlem Wizards Event in Wylie, Texas on Tuesday, March 20th at 6:30PM

It's March Madness! Whether you love basketball or enjoy comedy, dance, and music, you are guaranteed a fun night at the upcoming Harlem Wizards event in Wylie, TX on Tuesday, March 20th at 6:30PM at Wylie High School. 

The Harlem Wizards are a show basketball team founded in 1962.  The Harlem Wizards are similar to the Harlem Globetrotters, but just a little bit different and a bit more of a grassroots organization. That said, some of their players have hooped it up with the Globetrotters.

They travel the country bringing smiles to kids and adults with their motto "your smile is our victory."

The Wizards are super excited about their upcoming Texas Tour. We will be playing in Wylie, TX on March 20th at 6:30 pm.

Wylie High School
2250 West Kirby St
Wylie, TX 75098

The Wizards like the rest of the country saw the movie "Wonder" and loved the message of kindness.  They wanted to use their platform to reach out to CCA kids and families and give them 2 hours of pure fun!

Here is a link to our website to learn more about us:  We travel all over the country and have been to 20 countries worldwide.

Contact Manu Iyer if you are interested. They are inviting CCA families to the game for free. They will give you tickets to attend the game and some other Wizards souvenirs.

If you would like to purchase tickets, or want to learn more about the Harlem Wizards, feel free to reach out to Manu. You can find his contact information below:


Manu Iyer
Harlem Wizards Event Support
311 E Park St., Suite 2, Moonachie, NJ 07074

Monday, March 12, 2018

#NewsDayTuesday: Learning About Body Image Through Kids Born with Facial Differences

An article published on The Conversation, "an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public," outlines important psychological findings about children born with facial differences. Thankfully, most are positive revelations. Those with facial differences were found to be more mature and accepting of their bodies. Read more in the article to reveal the research that supports these theories.

Three cheers for resiliency and leading the way towards self acceptance.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

#ThankfulThursday: Storm Taekwondo Raises $5,000 for CCA With Kick-A-Thon

Shane Merem of Storm Taekwondo located in Commerce Township, Michigan held a kick-a-thon at his studio with students of all ages and talents, raising over $5,000 for Children's Craniofacial Association. Their efforts will help send Brooklyn Wojtyniak's family, and other families to Annual Retreat and Educational Symposium.

The event was streamed on Facebook. Merem asked the Facebook audience for contributions. Then introduced the kids and adults that would be showcasing their karate kicking skills. Finally, each student had their moment in the limelight as they raised funds with each kick. Prizes were then awarded. Some students even completed a portion of their kicking at home to be sure they made all the karate action happen for their donors.

Merem is a passionate individual. He is very motivated to give the students not only the physical tools for success, but the mental motivation as well. He is force with which to be reckoned. Merem heard about CCA from one of his students, Brooklyn Wojtyniak. The goal was to send her and her family to retreat, but Storm Taekwondo did so much more than that in raising so much awareness and generating so much kindness and helping Brooklyn attain the Retreat Room Reward for netting $5,000.

Generous prize donors offered up incentives for individual and team donors that gave the most money. One team earned the ability to to attend a Red Wings hockey game thanks to Ben Marcum's boss at INTRA Corporation in Westland, Michigan. Looks like these big earners had a great time at the game. 
Top fundraisers at the Storm Taekwando Kick-A-Thon won tickets to the Detroit
Red Wings hockey game. 

Detroit Red Wings
Marcum praises Shane's efforts by saying, "Shane is an amazing Martial Arts Instructor and his school is growing and doing an amazing job developing young kids into champions of life." Marcum also states that Shane recognized how important the Annual Family Retreat and Educational Symposium is to the our families. 

Storm Taekwando Kick-A-Thon Participants

Watch the video of the Kick-A-Thon Live Facebook event by following this link. This is a great model for future fundraisers. If you have a studio, Storm Taekwando is willing to walk you through how to run such a fundraiser.

Storm Kick-A-Thon Participants

A sports or activity-related fundraiser like this allows many people to get involved, give reasonable amounts of money that make sense for them, and can be completed in a number of different venues. It could be any repetitive activity. You could do a dance-a-thon, basketball shot-a-thon, or even a yoga pose--a thon! Each person sponsors a specific number of shots, or length of time that the participant spends completing the activity. People can donate one unit, or more, depending on the metrics you develop.

Excellent job and many, many thanks to Shane Merem, Storm Taekwando, all the kick-a-thon participants, and Ben Marcum for their thoughtfulness and generosity.

Shane (Right) awarding a medal to a student after the

By Kara Jackman

2018 Annual Retreat Deadlines and Itinerary


May 20th: Deadline to email me a picture for our retreat program. This can be a family picture, picture of your child/children or an individual picture. 

May 30th Last day to book your room at CCA’s discounted rate. Here is the online booking link and our discounted rate is $139 per night, plus tax.

May 31st: Deadline to sign up for child care during the Educational Symposium and the Symposium sessions you and your family will be attending. (Will send information for both ASAP)

June 5th: Deadline to let me know which meals you and your family will NOT be eating. (Will send out menus ASAP so you can see what we will be having for each meal.)

Annual Retreat Itinerary 


Registration: At this time you will check-in with the CCA Staff and Volunteers so we know you have arrived. You will be given a retreat bag full of goodies such as a retreat t-shirts, name tags and more!

Retreat Kick-Off: We will kick-off the retreat with some announcements and introductions. Tacos and Entertainment will be provided for the families.


Breakfast will be provided
Group Meet-ups: During this time, you will have the opportunity to meet other families who have children with your child’s craniofacial syndrome or condition and families who have children within your child’s age group.

Lunch is on your own

Talent Show: Brought back by popular demand! Everyone loved last year’s Talent Show, so we are doing it again this year! If you plan on performing in the Talent Show, please email me the name of the performer and what talent they will be providing. Each performer will have about 2-3 minutes for their performance. Once all slots are filled, I will be sending you an email to gather additional information from you and assign you a time for your performance.
Family Night/Dinner Provided: Every year at the retreat we do a basket raffle during Family Night (which takes place on Friday night) and the families love it, so we are going to keep it around. For those of you who have never been to a retreat, let me explain how this works. We ask our retreat families to bring an item or basket with items which represents your hometown, city or state. Then we number each basket and set a brown paper bag in front of each item. We sell raffle tickets and you simply place your ticket in the bag of the basket you would like to win. Once everyone has purchased their tickets, we hold a drawing for each basket. It's really neat to see what everyone brings each year. Please don't feel like you have to bring something, this is just totally up to you. And last, but not least, if you are bringing an item or basket for our raffle please bring this to registration on Thursday. Registration will be taking place from 11:00am-3:00pm. (If you have any address labels, you might want to bring them with you. It saves you from having to write your name on the tickets. Ticket prices are 20 for $5) Entertainment will be provided.

Teen Night (Ages 13-19): If your teen will be attending Teen Night on Friday, they will be eating dinner with everyone else in the Grand Ballroom. When it is time for Teen Night, will have a place for them and the chaperones to line up outside of the ballroom and then we will walk everyone to the Pool. I am looking for 3-4 Adults to chaperone teen night. If you are interested, please email me.

CCA Adults’ Casino Night (Ages 20 and up): If you are a CCA Adult with a craniofacial condition and will be attending the Casino Night, you will be eating dinner in the Grand Ballroom. You will head to Casino Night at 8:00pm which will be located in the Olympus room.

Breakfast is on your own
Zumba: Our very own CCA Dad, Jerry Carchi, will be teaching a fun Zumba class for the entire family!
Group Photo: Each year we do a big group photo. We ask that you please wear your CCA Retreat T-shirt which will be provided in your retreat bag during Registration on Thursday, June 28th.

Pool Party/Boxed Lunches Provided: Everyone will head to the pool for an afternoon of fun. Boxed lunches will only be provided from 11:00am-1:00pm.

Dinner/Dance with DJ and Dinner Provided: Most of our families do dress up for this event, although not required. The attire isn’t formal, more like slacks, summer dresses, etc…


BREAKFAST PROVIDED: We will give our hugs, say our goodbyes, exchange numbers and start the countdown to the 2019 retreat!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Texas Families: Special Needs Planning Night at John and Judy Gay Library on April 10th

Learn from Attorney Richard O'Connor, how to best plan for kids and adults with special needs. Navigate the muddy waters of health insurance, medicaid, social security and more during this informative seminar. Contact for more information about the event.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

#ThankfulThursday: CCA Kid's Karate Instruction Donates To CCA

 Sydney Ford and her karate teacher found out they have more than just their shared love of sport in common. They also love Children's Craniofacial Association. Sydney benefits from the organization's medical travel funds that her karate teacher, Ms Lee, funds through her donations. What a small world? If not for donors like Ms. Lee lots of kids like Sydney could not access the medical care they need to stay alive. Meanwhile, others would never have been exposed to the book "Wonder." We are grateful for all of our donors, but especially those who donated to us for many years.